More Shopping

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I do not regard shopping as a pastime and generally do as little as possible.  I also endeavour to combine as many tasks as possible when we go out in order to reduce time, petrol, money and energy.

Since we live in a semi-rural area, it is a bit of an expedition if I do need to go to a major shopping centre.  So, when we went to stock up the pantry on Saturday, I decided to see if I could buy the Christmas gifts for our granddaughters.  I often take them to a show of some sort but this year it was a practical gift as suggested by our daughter.  New beach towels were on the shopping list.  I decided to check out Spotlight and was in luck.  I found these lovely, large towels by Canningvale.

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I decided to wrap them up and then it is all done.  A few years ago I made some reusable Christmas gift bags and I managed to find 2 that would fit the towels.

Adorned with some ribbon that has been reused many times and gift tags made from old Christmas cards and it was all done with next to no waste.

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I have a couple more gifts to buy and some home-made goodies to make and that is my Christmas gift-giving sorted.


The Slippery Slope

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It is 3 weeks since my last blog post.  All of the usual home stuff has been happening as well as going to the movies, lunch with friends, family visiting and a trip to Sydney so there is possibly a reason why blogging has not been a priority.

However, that is not really an excuse as these sorts of events usually provide plenty of material for posts rather than simply not posting.  I think it is simply that I am tired and the end of the year is fast approaching – it is exactly 11 weeks until Christmas Day.

Once it gets to September, it feels as though the year is almost gone and we seem to be on some sort of crazy trajectory and hurtling towards Christmas and the end of the year.  My work is such that deadlines loom, demands increase and everyone expects the impossible to be achieved.  I am very thankful that this is the last year I will experience this pressure as I will be well and truly retired by this time next year.

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Quite aside from work commitments, most of us celebrate Christmas and it is easy to get caught up in all of the commercialism and hype.  Our Christmas celebrations are fairly low-key and are usually a small family gathering for a special meal together and modest gifts for the immediate family.  As much as possible, I aim for experiences or practical gifts.

This year our 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters will join us for a week at the beach.  We will not be too far from home so it should not be a major undertaking.

My Christmas preparation so far has been to book our accommodation (several months ago) and I bought a gift a few days ago when I was in Sydney.  I happened to see it and thought it would be perfect.

There will be a couple more gifts to source and I will need to plan a menu for Christmas Day.  We do not indulge in huge amounts of festive food and I expect there will be lots of fresh fruit and simple salads consumed during the time we are at the beach.  Some casual, relaxed down-time for everyone (including the cook) is just what will be needed by the end of the year.

I may need to find a copy of this book!

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An Introduction…………….

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We have a new member of our extended family.  My sister and brother-in-law have a new puppy who has melted plenty of hearts already.  She is a Border Collie x Kelpie.

Here are some photos of her with an early Christmas present about 3 weeks ago.

What’s this?  Can I eat it?

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There’s something inside the paper………………..I’ve nearly got it!

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Are you sure I can’t eat it?

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I’ll fight with it………….

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The blanket may have won the first round……………

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Welcome to Vesper.  I am sure your antics will bring many hours of joy and entertainment.

Christmas 2017 – A Review


Christmas is over for another year.  I did not write about Christmas preparations because there really were not any preparations.  We arrived back at the beginning of December from our 4 week trip to the UK.  I had organised a week at the beach earlier in the year and bought experience gifts for our daughters and granddaughters.

I planned the menu, gathered up the food and utensils as well as some beach attire and headed off last weekend.

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We had a delightful week of relaxation and casual living.  The biggest decision I had to make was whether to do some more of the jigsaw or play another game of ‘Upwords’.

My daughter and I went to church on Christmas Eve.

The menu for Christmas Day was chosen to fit with hot weather at the beach and there were next to no leftovers.

Proscuitto wrapped asparagus and haloumi
Cold curried chicken
Parsley and cranberry crusted salmon
Mango and avocado salad
Beetroot and feta salad
Green bean salad with slivered almonds
Meringue roulade with berries and pistachio nuts

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A couple of days after Christmas I finally wrote a Christmas letter and emailed it to my close friends.

So, that was it – no tree, no decorations, no mad rushing around choosing gifts for the sake of it, no looking for a hundred ways to serve ham in January.  I know that this is simply not feasible for many people but every second year our Christmas is an adults only affair so we can approach the day quite differently.

I feel as though I drifted through the second half of 2017 in a haze of inertia following the death of A (our daughter’s partner) in May so relaxing with all of my immediate family was just the antidote we all needed.

I don’t have any major resolutions or grand plans for next year, however, I look forward to 2018 with the optimism that seems to greet every new year.

I hope your Christmas was what you had hoped and all the best for the New Year.

My next blog post will be looking forward to 2018 which conveniently begins on a Monday.  I  like the idea of a nice, neat start to the week and year.  Anyone else feel like this?

Food for Thought


Every now and then I come across a discussion or comment (either in real life or on an internet forum) that stops me dead in my tracks.

The other day I read a comment where a teacher asked about a remark made by another teacher, that she would never eat any home-baked gift that was given to her and simply threw them out.

2015-11-14 01As if that was not enough to throw me for six, I was astounded by the robust online discussion that ensued.

Some of the issues that were raised included not buying home-made cakes from cake stalls, the hygiene standards of the kitchen, not eating anything from anyone unless you had intimate knowledge of their home and kitchen and so on.

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Do these people ever attend a function where people bring a plate of food to share?  Are their children allowed to attend birthday parties, where, heaven forbid, there may be home-made food?  What about class parties at the end of term?

2015-11-14 02I can well understand people with food allergies being unable to accept food gifts but some of the other issues just seemed over-the-top to me.

I was not alone in my response as there were others (teachers and others) who said they welcomed and appreciated the home-made baking that was made and given with love.

Then the conversation headed in another direction as to the reason for giving gifts to teachers as they are ‘only doing their job’ and get paid like every other employee in any line of work.

Am I naive?  What do you think?  I am particularly interested to hear from teachers as well as parents who have given home-baked gifts.  Will this revelation change your plans for Christmas gifts?

Tying Up Loose Ends


Today on the train I managed to finish off 3 more dishcloths.  They were knitted but just needed the threads to be woven in and neatened up.

These are some that I made to use up the last of the coloured thread.  I had 2 balls of the neutral thread stashed away so it is good to get it used up.

I am knitting 1 more cloth and that should just about finish all of the scraps so I will then have 9 dishcloths which should last me quite a while.  Not bad for the $10 spent of 4 balls of coloured thread.  Many thanks to my friend, Sandra who found the special and even bought them for me.

My next project is to use the same pattern to knit a facewasher each for Miss O and Izz for part of their Christmas gifts.  I plan to buy a ball each of pink and purple cotton and will make 1 pink and 1 purple one with their intitials knitted into it in the contrasting colour.

Speaking of Christmas gifts – it is 7 months till Christmas.  I have been a bit slack about posting my progress of Christmas preparations for Lazy Brownie day each month but I will get back on track for June.

How soon do you start planning for Christmas?

The Things We Do


Today we have been at home doing the things that are part and parcel of our lives.

The Duke has spent the day sanding the piece of furniture he is restoring.  Apart from a little more on the mirror frame it is now all ready to be finished with a clear lacquer.  We have new handles for  the drawers and also the mirror attachments.

I have been sewing.  Here is the bag I have made for Miss O for part of her Christmas gift.  It is the same style as this one that I have done for Izz.

2011-08-21 01I also made 2 more reusable sandwich wraps.  I had made 2 for Miss O and Izz a while ago and recently Belle asked if I could make a couple more as they are a great success.  She also wanted some smaller wraps for putting pikelets or small muffins in for their lunches at daycare.

These are the sandwich wraps.

2011-08-21 02This is a mini wrap.  I will give it to Belle to try before I make any more.

2011-08-21 03This evening I used pumpkin, cabbage and broccoli from our garden in our meal.  While the oven was on I made a batch of pear and passionfruit muffins for snacks.  The pears were over-ripe and needed to be used and the passionfruit had been frozen from when they were cheap at the markets.

Despite the cold and the rain we have had an enjoyable and productive day.